Wastewater, Water, Transportation, Educational, Marketing, Private, and Landscape Projects
THE FILLMORE PROJECT PRIVATE
BUILDING | WATERLINE | STREET | PARKING
Major urban development requires extreme measures to identify those impacted by construction—and sometimes lots of data tracking.
The Filmore Project is a new seven-story apartment complex that rises out of a vacant site in downtown Phoenix, which also included creating a new street in the neighborhood. The amenity-rich complex features curbside public parking, sidewalks, and additional lighting that improves safety and visibility at night.
The project started in February 2019 and completes in July 2021. Long construction projects often uncover different challenges and impacts, and outreach activities are focused on keeping information in front of residents and businesses.
Hired by the contractor, YPMO developed an outreach plan to advise residents and businesses of the long-term nature and impacts of this fairly disruptive project using mailed flyers, door hangers, and email construction notices. Stakeholders for this project included an adjacent apartment complex on 6th Street that would have access disrupted during the street construction. Businesses include the Salvation Army, a rehabilitation facility, and other historic properties. Most communications were in English only, although urgent notifications also had a Spanish translation.
Managing a mailing list is a critical part of YPMO’s work. As part of standard mailing processes, the team uses return mail so that addresses can be verified. While they never know how many pieces of mail will be returned, keeping a project’s mailing list current is necessary, especially on long-term projects. The initial mailer for this project returned many undeliverable notifications.
Confirming unit numbers proved to be even more difficult. Mailing addresses come from the County Recorder’s Office, and when apartment complexes change ownership, the data is often not updated or accurate. New owners even change numbering systems, says Andre Salais, project manager.
Faced with residents who had not yet been notified of construction activities, the YPMO team’s response was quick: they went out to impacted complexes and verified unit numbers, knocked on doors, and dropped door hangers to make sure they had accurate resident information. They also learned that many young adult residents prefer email to notification flyers.
In addition to construction notifications, YPMO’s outreach activities included a website that provides construction photos, schedule and other information that helps the public understand the project’s progress.
Noise is always a construction issue. YPMO’s notices inform businesses and residents updates about what is happening, especially with early hours and late-in-the-evening work. It is important to provide regular communication to mitigate most concerns, and remind residents and businesses when activities will be a temporary inconvenience.
The City of Phoenix is sensitive to noise complaints, especially for after-hours work, according to Salais. “We’re boots on the ground and let the contractor know of impacts to the public, such as noise. Our job is to make sure the contractor is aware of resident concerns. In this case, they could have lost their permit to work after hours, which would have delayed the project by months,” says Salais. “The City takes noise complaints seriously.”
YPMO also advised residents when parking lots would be closed, and that there would be parking area lighting so they could safely get to their apartments. The team advocates for residents and businesses, and they may be the only person the public sees or speaks to during the course of a project.
“Change is hard for residents,” says Salais, “When they don’t know who to trust, it can be overwhelming. We’re in the position to make this project more palatable, more tolerable, so it’s easier for them to navigate and understand,” says Salais. “We’re going to be the people who provide that communication.”
CHASSE Building Team
-Website Design and Management
CHASSE Building Team
Every project has its challenges, and this project had its fair share, from finding residential addresses to listening to their concerns.
Downtown Phoenix is quickly being redeveloped, and many single family homes are being converted into duplexes and then into apartments. Many are in severe states of disrepair and units don’t always have numbers on them. For this project, a number of buildings were condemned and deemed untenable, others empty, and the YPMO team couldn’t always reach an owner.
As a result, YPMO went to the complexes in person to determine which units were vacant and record property addresses.
One apartment complex had even changed its numbering scheme during construction, which meant team members had to change all of those addresses in the mailing list.
“Places that undergo major redevelopment are chaotic, and they often lack any sort of standard for addressing,” says Salais. “It’s a complicated process to notify impacted residents.”
One resident repeatedly sent emails to his Phoenix councilmember, addressing the construction noise. He would not accept a phone call or let YPMO know where he lived, and as Salais explained, “it turned out he was complaining about a completely different project, not ours.” This put the project at risk due to Phoenix’ sensitivity to noise complaints.